Food Vendors Gear Up for Annual Queens Taste Event

To Feature 50 Local Restaurants

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and lead sponsor Fairway Market are holding Queens Taste 2013, the borough’s premiere networking and culinary event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14 at Citi Field’s Caesar’s Club in Flushing.

Roughly 50 restaurants and other food and beverage purveyors will provide delectable samples to more than 1,000 attendees, including some of the most powerful and best connected business leaders and residents in the borough.

The reasons to attend are endless.

First, there’s the food, which will be as diverse as the borough. Expect everything from sweet to savory, Mexican to Trinidadian and crunchy to creamy. For example, Rego Park’s Ceviche Bar is planning to bring Peruvian delicacies such as ceviche (of course) and chicha morada, a refreshing drink made from purple corn and cloves. Meanwhile, Sunnyside’s Dog & Duck Gastropub will serve duck hamburgers, and Sac’s Place will go with pastas that are handmade at the Astoria establishment by the owner’s mother.

Plus, clients of the Entrepreneur Space, a food-and-business incubator that QEDC operates in Long Island City (LIC), will be on hand with their artisan specialties, including gourmet cheesecake balls and healthy chickpea concoctions.

Then there are the drinks. Forest Hills-based wine provider Nestor Imports and LIC’s Court Square Wines headline a spirits group that includes Brooklyn Brewery, Genesis Brands, Manhattan Beer Distributors and Chopin Vodka. Yes, some of the drink purveyors are based outside of Queens, but they all have a big presence in the borough.

As part of the fun, Steve Hofstetter, a comedian and co-owner of LIC’s Laughing Devil, will serve as master of ceremonies. As a huge baseball fan, the Briarwood native has already expressed his enthusiasm for working a room where Mr. Met is a confirmed attendee. Clowns from the Big Apple Circus will be there, too, doing magic tricks and giving away free red clown noses to all attendees- at least to those who want one.

Finally, the networking. The QEDC hopes that at least 1,000 people will attend, with most of them either living in Queens or doing business in the borough. So, Queens Taste 2013 provides the perfect scene to talk shop and exchange business cards in a friendly atmosphere.

There’s a bonus benefit, as this year’s theme is Sandy Recovery. The QEDC asked Fairway Market to be the lead sponsor partly because the business took pains not to lay off any employees after the superstorm, even though its Red Hook store was destroyed. Fairway executives managed to keep all employees due to a brilliant operations-transportation plan.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) was selected as the honoree because it immediately gave an estimated $300,000 worth of water, medicine, clothes and other items to Sandy victims in the Rockaways. Then the USTA donated $100,000 to the Mayors Fund.

A few of the Rockaway business owners who are struggling to get back on their feet will be displaying their products at the event, as well.

“I look forward to Queens Taste all year,” said QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. “It is so fun on so many levels. The food. The drinks. The people. The venue. The celebration.”

Queens Taste 2013 costs $125 per ticket, but a pair of tickets costs $225.

Proceeds support QEDC’s ongoing efforts to attract and maintain jobs in the borough through business services, neighborhood development, the E-Space and marketing attractions through the Queens Tourism Council and the Discover Queens brand. As QEDC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations are tax-deductable as permitted by law.

To buy tickets via the internet, go to www.queensny.org/qedc/queenstaste. For more information, go to www.queensny.org, call 1-718-263- 0546, or email [email protected].